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OP: My Prize Winning Recipes

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by Mrs. [Melanie] George A. Chehardy

F. Laborde & Sons, 1941. Hardcover. Very Good Minus. Signed.

Though written with the “All-American” housewife in mind, this 1941 self-published cookbook retains a certain New Orleans character throughout. The sheer number of recipes involving pecan praline alone is suggestive of the author’s geographic frame of reference.

Melanie Chehardy (1903–1982) asserts in her preface that all of her recipes are “tasty, economical, and easy to prepare.” In fact, she says, her recipes had been published in newspapers and magazines across the country, and, over the course of nearly two decades, they had won her “many thousands of dollars in prizes.”

In these 300-plus pages you’ll find such prize-winning dishes as:

  • Persimmon frappé
  • Cheese pimento pinwheels
  • Buttermilk backwoods ice cream—“cheap and good”—sweetened with molasses and flavored with mace
  • Creamed butter beans with shrimp, served over toast
  • Crab hash
  • Beef daube

We also spot a variety of cornmeal mush preparations, a substantial number of offal and game recipes, various jambalayas (crawfish, oyster, lentil, shrimp) and gumbos (sausage and potato, lamb and bacon, fried chicken), and an entire chapter on coffee cakes—a broad designation which includes popovers, doughnuts, pancakes, a praline sandwich (chopped pralines, butter, and cream spread on toasted raisin bread).

Daily bills of fare and menus for special occasions as well as household hints round out the latter portion of the book. 

Ours is in Very Good Minus condition, clean inside, though the page edges and case are soiled with food splatters and scuffing. Sun staining to the spine and rear board. Apparent first printing, signed on title page. A great insight into domestic life during the period.

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